Reviews of Robin Pope Safaris bush-camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Robin Pope Bush Camp - simply superb
We walked from Nsefu, heading along the river bank. You only carry your binoculars, camera and some water. We were accompanied by Kanga (our guide), Baron (our armed guard) and Sebastian (who carried the equipment to make tea and provide cake in the tea break, and also was good at spotting birds, and carried the identification book to show us what we had spotted).
Generally bush camping has a maximum of 4 clients; we were lucky as we were the only two. Typically you walk from 6.30 to 10 -10.30ish when it starts to get hot. (There is a break for tea and cake halfway). In the afternoon, you walk from around 4.30 -6.00 (when it begins to get dark). The walking is fairly easy going, fairly flat. If you go walking at home, we think you would have no problem – it is not a route march.
This was a wonderful experience. Kanga was an excellent guide, knowledgeable and interesting and very good company in talking about the wildlife and their environment, but at meals, also more generally about Zambia. Walking gives you a very different perspective on the wildlife when you are on their level. Elephants seem much bigger, and you identify much more with the prey species than you do in a vehicle. Having said that, we always felt very safe in the hands of the team, who were calm and communicated well.
The wildlife viewing was better and closer than we expected. We saw many elephant, buffalo, antelope, hippo, and many birds. We also saw a leopard jump down from a tree, and three leopards who visited our camp.
It was amazing to walk through the bush and arrive at the camp set up already. Food was excellent. The tent was quite spacious. We really like the mesh sides which meant you could see in all directions. (you can cover these if you don’t like that experience). There was a bucket shower and a loo. (It is not roughing it). The camp crew thoughtfully position their tents so you feel it is just you in the bush.
On the second day our guide suggested we walked in a particular direction where game was more active, but that we would then need to be picked up by a vehicle. We did this in the afternoon as well – we probably would have preferred not to in the afternoon as there is a magic about just walking.
On the final morning we walked to Tena Tena.
We would highly recommend the Bush Camping. We stayed for 2 nights – 2 and a half days walking. This was about right for us.
As the title suggests this "Top Three Highlight" of the trip was made truly special by the presence of an exceptional guide and great companion, Kanga. His interest, excitement and enthusiasm to share his knowledge was intoxicating; his calm manner and professionalism looking after us in the presence of a lion who had just killed a buffalo calf 10 minutes earlier, were exemplary and maximised our appreciation of the event whilst keeping us safe and the lion undisturbed. Not only did Kanga teach us so much during our walks, but he also told us about local life, about Project Luangwe and so much more. A wonderful evening together, culminating in star-gazing on the river bank: he seems to know about everything!! This was undoubtedly a highlight for us all and we really wished that we had opted for a 3 or 5 day mobile safari walking tour....one day, hopefully!
The walking safaris to and from the bush camp were part of this experience. The pace is gentle and unhurried, the focus being on the surroundings and the wildlife (that is the entire eco-system). Those looking for a brisk, athletic stretch of the legs might be disappointed, but that is not really the point. The walks were an opportunity to experience the bush on a more intimate and more intense level. Walking in the presence of lion, buffalo, hippo, giraffe and elephant was incredibly exciting yet the presence of an armed scout and the cocoon of professionalism, capability and competence that the guides exude, imparts a genuine sense of safety.
As for the camp itself, it bore absolutely no resemblance to any camping holiday we had experienced! Incredible luxury. In fact bizarrely there was a transient moment of regret that it was not more "back to basics". It was a very transient moment however and the romanticised memories of previous masochistic camping experiences were quickly obliterated by the best hot shower of our entire trip! As in all RPS camps, extremely high standard of food and service with no compromise being made for the temporary/transient nature of the bush-camp and not a leaky lilo in sight - indeed one of the best night's sleeps.
S Luangwa Bush Camping Experience
Guys this is the best bush camping experience we have been on, and we've been on 7/8 such 3 day trips. Very well organised in that they use 3 or 4 different sites and of the 3 nights you'll spend time in 2 or 3 locations dependent on the time of year and game around on your trip.
They're very efficient, you go out on your morning game walk and by the time you walk into the new camp at 10:30 or so it'll be fully erected and set-up. The national parks warden is pretty efficient in aiding you walk safely and the guide, Debbie Tittle, is one of the best walking guides we've had the privilege to be guided by. She's very knowledgeable and informative. We learnt a lot and saw a lot of game including antelope, elephants, zebras and also 2 prides of lions, hyenas and their cubs, leopards including getting to within 20/30 feet of a leopard who was as surprised as us to see it so close up as it stormed out of a gully having been waiting for a meal ticket to potentially walk by. Sorry that the bush camping experience was only 3 days or our safari holiday this time around.
Robin Pope Safaris bush-camp review
Worth in spades the (small) effort and it made our safari a much more rounded experience.
We were amazed, and quite humbled, by the attention to detail in the camps.
Robin Pope Safaris bush-camp review
Where does one start? It was a most perfect 3 days being everything we had hoped for and dreamed of.
Our guide, Debs was superb and her team backed her up with extraordinary professionalism and kindness. We saw amazing game from closer than we had dared to expect but never felt as though we were in danger or intruding on the animals in a way that was inappropriate.
The camps were very comfortable and the food delicious. The walking was paced perfectly for the sights we saw . It was a truely blessed few days and we will always remember them.
Robin Pope Safaris bush-camp review
So fantastically well organised, we felt so privileged to be in the wild with such a interesting and absorbing guide.
Food and little things such as hot water bottles were exceptional.
Walking with lions
A few days in the bush with Debs is something very, very special. Her knowledge of the bush and everything in it is extraordinary.
We all loved "wandering" amongst the lions, elephants, etc. right down to the elephant shrew. But I never did see the oh so audible wood owls, very melodiously canoodling above us in camp. I much appreciated Debs going out of her way to find a chameleon for me.
Superb - just what we wanted
Thoroughly enjoyed this. Suited us both.
Felt like you were in the thick of it but always felt safe with comptetnt guide. "leopard sightings on foot + lion and close shave with elephant!
Wonderful experience. Next time I would book longer in the bushcamp.